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Siegel Sez

April 19, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been. It started with a trip to California to see our horse Currahee run for the third time. He has run three times, come in third three times and every time he has run I have bet him to win and place. You would think I would figure this out by now. Then it was off to Chicago for the HTNG Annual Conference. On the Monday I arrived it was another freaky warm day in Chicago and since I had lived there 20 years ago I decided to take a walk to my old neighborhood. While walking I decided to visit the apartment building I lived in. Surprisingly, 20 years later the same doorman was there. Then I went into the leasing office and the first thing I said to the two women working there was that I wanted to rent apartment 1804. That weirded me out, until the words came out of my mouth I hadn’t thought of my apartment number. How does one remember something like that 20 years later? Honestly, I scare myself sometimes. We had a great chat and they shared some history of the building. It was fun to revisit the past. HTNG was very good this year with a great crowd though very heavy with vendors versus hoteliers. There were great sessions and lots of socializing. My favorite session was the celebration of HTNG’s 10-year anniversary with a panel of those who were there in the beginning. Doug Rice, Jon Inge, Nick Price and Ted Horner did a great job sharing the moments along the way as HTNG became real. Kate O’Neil who was with me took a lot of pictures and will write a review of the event in our next issue of Hospitality Upgrade. Some of the pictures are very funny. If you don’t receive Hospitality Upgrade and would like to either in print or digitally, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe. And don’t forget to download our free app available for Apple® and Android™ devices.

Last week was our Executive Vendor Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. In the opening comments of his technology newsstand this week, Jon Inge was very kind regarding a couple of the sessions on our program for the executives and top industry consultants who attended our event. We thank Sally Kelly for doing a great job with the program. The conference was held at the Hotel Valley Ho which I kept telling everybody was a very cool hotel. Everyone corrected me by calling the hotel very retro. No matter what you call it, everybody loved the hotel. It is nice to use independent hotels once in a while. Thanks to HFTP, The McLean Group and Microsoft for their support of this year’s event. Microsoft invited those arriving the night before to a dinner at its original Microsoft Store which was very near the hotel. Everybody had a blast. Congratulations to Jon Dulude from DuVoice Corporation who won an Xbox and Kinect for Xbox. I really wanted to win that prize. Again, read the complete review of the Executive Vendor Summit in our upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade.

I am going to leave you today with a few questions. Why in the world would Geneva want a Hummer? Did Kate tell one of the worst jokes ever?  Would you trust Kris with a hammer? And most importantly, who the heck is Kylie? Our Executive Vendor Summit guests had the pleasure of seeing the debut of a special video on their guestroom televisions. The comments we received were two-fold; one was disbelief and the others just thought it was great. A little different, but it was really well done. Please take three minutes and get the answers to these questions. After you watch, please drop an email to me and let me know what you thought: mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. I have often been told, being different is a good thing. Let me know if you agree. Please click here: http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com//HUtube-Videos/default.asp?vid=siegel.  

Speaking of different, we have some big surprises for our upcoming HITEC issue of Hospitality Upgrade. If you are a technology vendor and especially if you will be exhibiting at HITEC then please email Kate at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at 678-802-5304 as soon as possible. We just love deadlines and we have a big one upcoming. Hospitality Upgrade is the exclusive affiliated technology magazine for HFTP – the producers of HITEC, and is the only magazine that is inserted into the registration bags of all HITEC attendees. It is a great way to maximize your presence in Baltimore this year.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. I didn’t let Kate choose it!


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- Moving to a more efficient use of technology
- Our readers chime Inn with more system suggestions
Spring conference season is in full flow.  I attended both HTNG’s North American Conference two weeks ago and Rich’s Executive Vendor Summit last week, and learned much from the principal speakers at each.  One theme touched on at both was that we still have trouble getting the value of IT across to hotel owners and management, and that greater cooperation across all disciplines is needed if we’re ever to get out from under the restrictions of our current fractured state.

At HTNG, Marriott Global CIO Bruce Hoffmeister encouraged all managers to think of themselves as company leaders, temporarily assigned to specific areas but nonetheless responsible as a team for the company’s success.  This helps all think of their projects first in terms of the overall business case instead of specific department gain (or technology coolness factor).  Being honest and transparent with each other, and knowing that everyone has the same overall goal, really helps each understand and accept why certain priorities are chosen even when all options are beneficial.

Over at the Executive Vendor Summit, John Burns’ thoughtful presentation on current influences on the hospitality market mentioned the growing presence of venture capital in hotel ownership; Blackwood’s acquisition of La Quinta, Hilton and Extended Stay America is just one example.  This impact isn’t yet clear, but such firms aren’t typically long-term investors; they look to improve the efficiency of the businesses they acquire with a view to a profitable sale – and one area where we’re notoriously inefficient is in technology.  We’re all aware of our continued use of obsolete systems such as 40-year-old GDSs, not to mention the well-known mix of multiple, un-integrated systems in most properties.  Bryson Koehler, following a 10-year career at InterContinental Hotels Group dealing with these very issues on a daily basis, spoke of his goal of using the funds of Exigen Capital (where he now oversees travel investments) to bring about change in this situation.

No-one knows where and how this will come about, but change is definitely in the air.  We stand a better chance of reaching a smoother, more efficient future if we all recognize it as a common goal and cooperate openly to move towards it.
Inn-Systems (continued): more suggestions for our mythical range of hospitality-focused systems, including some from our readers.
- Inn-Ability and Inn-Competence, two options for staff training
- Inn-Sanity, the interface development module (Doug Rice, from HTNG: are you trying to tell us something, Doug?)
- Inn-Opportune, a business generation tool for marketing (Pete Allen, from hyphen)
- Inn-Famous and Inn-Memoriam, two loyalty program/guest recognition modules (Pete Allen)
- Inn-Security, Web-based streaming video feeds of all hotel exits not used by thieves (Ron Strecker, AJS Hotels)
- Inn-Cognito, providing such seamless integration you won’t even know it’s there (Ariel Herr, Pegasus)
- Inn-Deep, which has more functionality than you know what to do with.

Keep ‘em coming, folks.



- REBEL Travel releases Social Profile Manager
- Milestone releases third-generation eBuzz Connect social media/reviews monitoring tool
- Wyndham announces WynReview and MyRequest online tools
- VIZERGY wins three WMA Internet Advertising Competition awards
- HeBS Digital receives two Internet Advertising Competition awards
- GSM Travel Management selects Lanyon’s Hospitality Spend Management system
- Travelliance picks Lanyon’s Total Hospitality Spend Management
For more information on Marketing/Management for 04/19/12


- Lanyon awarded U.S. Patent for its approach to rate auditing
Lanyon has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,145,539 for the approach to rate auditing used in its Total Hospitality suite.  http://www.lanyon.com  


- Philips wins HTNG’s 2011 Most Innovative Hospitality Award for Media Suite Hotel TV
- DirecTV, Fingi win HTNG Runner-Up Awards
- Bittel Americas enhances UNO Media series all-in-one unit
- FCS expands, relocates India operations to DLF Towers in New Delhi’s Jasola district
- Guest-tek releases myAway mobile application for guests to control in-room TVs, more
- Runtriz integrating Postcard on the Run mobile app
- Delta Hotels and Resorts upgrades bandwidth at 17 Canadian properties to InternetXL
- Revel Atlantic City implementing SuiteLinq’s Q|Vision and Q|Touch in all rooms
- Aruba Marriott Resort installs Flyte Systems FlytePass boarding pass printer
- Quadriga announces QConnect multitier, multiarea guest connectivity Wi-Fi management
- Royal Philips Electronics completes creation of TP Vision joint venture with TPV Technology
- Grand Hyatt DFW implements INNCOM guest service controllers
- Saddlebrook Resort Tampa installing iBAHN ETVi television services, iMEDIA Internet access
For more information on Guest Services for 04/19/12


- Merchant Link developing two e-commerce approaches for secure card-not-present payments
- Stark Service Solutions appoints Technology 4 Hotels reseller of Housekeeping PM Touch System in Australia, Asia Pacific
- Radisson Edwardian Hotels implementing Optii Keeper housekeeping management in 14 hotels
- Optii Solutions appoints Omni Facilities Management (Singapore) as Singaporean partner and regional reseller
- Revel resort, Atlantic City installs InvoTech’s GIMS UHF-RFID Linen and Uniform control systems
For more information on Back Office for 04/19/12


- Frank Watervoort joins Roomlinx as chief information officer
- Alex Alt named chief operating officer at Sabre Hospitality Solutions
- Tina Stehle leaving Agilysys
- Craig Cartwright hired by Pegasus as vice president, CRS product management
- Alicia Moran is new chief of client services at The Knowland Group
- Brian Cunningham joins TAC as regional vice president of North American Sales
- Tom Conley wins Top 50 Entrepreneur award
For more information on People on the Move for 04/19/12


- NORTHWIND announces nine new Maestro installations in 1Q12
- VingCard, BMW, MICROS team up to let drivers book rooms from their cars, open guestroom doors with car keys
- Bay Hotel Singapore implementing UbiQ Global Solutions’ mobile phone check-in system
- DOCOMO interTouch reselling OpenWays Mobile Key technology as FREEDOM Check In
- Oyster Bay Beach Resort picks SPI Software’s Orange Software
- Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa selects Cenium
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 04/19/12


- Hotel Okura Co., JAL Hotels implement global reservation system for all 79 hotels
- Room77 now showing discount rates alongside retail and merchant rates
- Millennium & Copthorne renews agreement with Sabre Hospitality for distribution services
- Trust International implements direct connection with Room Key
- Seattle’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau picks Regatta Travel Solutions’ booking engine
- Travelport and China’s TravelSky Technology partner to provide access to each other’s inventory
- Egencia acquiring VIA Travel
For more information on Reservations for 04/19/12


- XPIENT integrates Merchant Link Payment Gateway, TransactionVault and TransactionShield into its POS system
- SoftCafe releases MenuPro 10 menu design and management program
XPIENT Solutions has integrated Merchant Link’s Payment Gateway, TransactionVault tokenization and TransactionShield point-to-point encryption into its restaurant POS system.  Certification is complete and the first beta site is expected to be live within a few weeks.  http://www.xpient.com, http://www.merchantlink.com
SoftCafe has released MenuPro 10, an automated menu design and management program.  MenuPro 10 features over 175 menu styles, a drag-and-drop interface for creating and organizing menu items, and PDF and JPG creators to help restaurateurs post menus on their websites or Facebook.  http://www.softcafe.com  


- Pegasus launches RezView Intelligence add-on for RezView NG
- Thompson Hotels implementing IDeaS at six U.S. properties
- Rocco Forte Hotels implements IDeaS across all 13 hotels
- IDeaS doubles number of scholarships in Revenue Management Scholarship Program at Cornell University
- Accor extends partnership with Amadeus to optimize use of revenue management at all properties
- Hyatt significantly expanding use of MaximRMS’ revenue management at U.S., Canada and Caribbean properties
- EasyRMS passes the 1,000-property mark
- Wyndham announces MyRequest and WynReview online tools
- Revel selects Rainmaker’s revolution for new resort in Atlantic City
For more information on Revenue Management for 04/19/12


- The Quin Hotel, New York installing Evolve Guest Controls’ integrated lighting and automation control system
- VingCard Elsafe’s Orion energy management system wins Star Award from Germany’s Top Hotel magazine
The Quin Hotel (formerly the Buckingham Hotel) in New York City is installing Evolve Guest Controls’ fully integrated lighting control and automation control system during its major renovation.  The install will include the new Evolve AI Interactive Touch Screen Controller, glass LCD Director Series and an Evolve motorized shading system. Guests will be able to control their thermostats, lighting and shades wirelessly from the bedside unit, as well as indicate privacy please/service room on Evolve’s exterior doorbell unit.  The Evolve touch-screen AI also includes an Internet-synced clock with multiday alarms, five-day weather forecast, streaming news/sports headlines, USB charging ports, iPhone®/iPad®/iPod® music playback/charging and an internal messaging system.  The guestroom lighting, thermostat and shades are put into an energy-efficient state when the Evolve PIR sensor determines that the room is unoccupied.  http://www.eguestcontrols.com  
VingCard Elsafe’s Orion energy management system has won a Star Award from Germany’s Top Hotel magazine. Orion was honored in the technology category, voted on by more than 2,500 Top Hotel readers as part of the magazine’s annual competition.  http://www.vingcardelsafe.com  


- Ericsson completes acquisition of BelAir Networks
Ericsson has completed its acquisition of BelAir Networks.  The former BelAir Networks' staff will be integrated into the Ericsson group in business unit networks over the coming months.  http://www.belairnetworks.com, http://www.ericsson.com


- VingCard, BMW, MICROS team up to let drivers book rooms from their cars, open guestroom doors with car keys
- Hilton names Safemark Systems a preferred supplier of electronic safes for all its international hotels
- The Hotel in Brussels implementing OpenWays Mobile Key phone-based security system
For more information on Security for 04/19/12


And now for you-know-what…

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to Heaven. I asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?"

"No!" the children answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked.

Again, the answer was, "No!"

By now I was starting to smile. This was fun. I continued, "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?"

Again, they all answered, "No!"

I was just bursting with pride for them. So, I asked, "then how can I get into Heaven?"

And a 5-year-old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead."

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